Convergence Center For Policy Resolution

Reentry Ready

Improving Incarceration’s Contribution to Successful Reentry 

The Vision

Transforming how corrections and other systems work together to support reentry success was the focus of the Convergence Reentry Ready Project. A diverse group of stakeholders expressed a deep commitment to advancing a set of actionable strategies that can lead to positive changes within and across multiple systems. 

The Problem

The U.S. has less than 5% of the world’s population but nearly 25% of the global prison population. Formerly incarcerated individuals find it very challenging to secure employment, housing, and other basic supports to reintegrate back into society successfully. As a result, the economic and social costs to former inmates, their families, and their communities are significant and long-lasting. At the time of this Convergence Dialogue: 

$ 0 B

The cost per year to support the prison system.

0 M

Approximately number of people who are in custody in the United States’ criminal justice.


Recidivism rate within five years of release.


Approximately additional people who are on parole while another 3.6 million are on probation.

Theory of Change

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If incarcerated individuals and the systems that supervise and support them use an integrated case management approach to set and achieve individualized reentry goals, and

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State and local leaders authorize and support such an approach, and 

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Leaders and systems also remove key barriers to reentry success that are embedded in current systems, then 

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More individuals will succeed in reentry, public safety will improve, and returning individuals, their families and communities will experience social and economic gains. 

Strategies for Change

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Education and Employability

  • Create effective programming and cross-system support for education and employability during incarceration 
  • Build system support for education, training, and employment post-release 
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Family, Housing and Community Connections

  • Ensure affordable and accessible housing for reentering individuals 
  • Foster community ownership in successful reentry 
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Physical and Behavioral Health

  • Improve the scope and quality of provided treatment services  
  • Expand treatment capacity and effectiveness 
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Cross-Cutting Strategies

  • Support development of high-performing leaders and teams in incarceration and reentry systems 
  • Increase financing for reentry collaboration and systems integration 

Project Outcomes

Common Ground Committee Podcast: Finding Common Ground On Re-Entry From Prison

America has the highest rates of incarceration in the world. Once people leave prison, the hope is that they’ll be law-abiding, productive members of society. But all too often this isn’t the case – four in 10 prisoners are back behind bars within three years of release. In this episode of Let’s Find Common Ground, we meet two men who want to fix the flawed re-entry process in the U.S.

They come to the problem from very different backgrounds. A former prison warden and overseer of regional prisons, Daren Swenson has spent his career in corrections. Georgetown University professor Marc Howard is a reformer who has long campaigned for the rights and humanity of incarcerated people.

They joined a diverse group of leaders and experts brought together by Convergence Center for Policy Resolution to come up with solutions that take into account both the dignity of the person re-entering society and the public safety implications of that person’s release.

In 2021, Convergence, our facilitation partner Consensus Building Institute (CBI), and Dialogue participant Keesha Middlemass launched a first-ever local Convergence pilot in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The group met over several months and concluded that a system based on the project’s recommendations has promise to help second chance citizens thrive in Baton Rouge. Local stakeholders continue to work together to coordinate supports for citizens returning from incarceration.

This podcast was co-produced in partnership with Convergence Center for Policy Resolution and is one of a series of podcasts that Common Ground Committee and Convergence are producing together.

Watch the Project Recap

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Check out our briefing on the Dialogue’s transformative plan to improve reentry success for individuals returning home from incarceration. The plan calls for coordination at the highest level across the multiple systems that serve incarcerated and formerly incarcerated individuals. Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) headlined the release event. 


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In the News

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The Washington Post: Women Returning From Incarceration Should Be A Priority | Letter To The Editor

“I was delighted to read Piper Kerman’s July 26 op-ed, “Too many women are still behind bars.” She accurately pointed out that most of these women will return to their communities ill-prepared for life at home. Without a place to live, a job or access to health and mental health care to address any trauma they suffered before and during incarceration, too many women are at risk of returning to jail or prison.”

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Unlikely Allies Announce Transformational Plan for Successful Reentry from Prison

The Convergence Reentry Ready Project announces the release of their plan for transforming incarceration and reentry systems to maximize the successful integration of individuals back into society. The report was released on June 26, 2019.

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Workforce Central: “Uplifting Low-Wage Workers”

Russell Krumnow, Director of Working Up, and Lisa Schumacher, Director of Education Strategies at McDonald’s Corporation, join the program to discuss how to close the education gap for low-wage workers. Discover how Convergence is creating dialogues between stakeholders with differing views, and how they are coming together to break down barriers for workers.

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